Friday 10/11 was a very fun event. What started as two guys drinking and reviewing good craft beers, turned into a very cool time last night. There were head brewers from 2 up and coming local breweries (SoMe Brewing and (the brewery formerly known as) Southern Maine Brewing) , and some beers brought from Beara Irish Brewing. These are beers not publicly available (yet), and were very good. We started with two home brew IPAs, then led into wide-distribution beers, then our local microbreweries.
Westminster, MA Wachusett Brewing Co Larry – Imperial/Douple IPA. 12 oz can. 8.5% ABV, 85 IBUs
This was my first time drinking this beer from a can. I think it tasted better from a can than from a 22 oz bottle. Smooth, clear, amber with an average head. Heavy malts, heavy hops. Not a whole lot of alcohol in the smell. Light body, thin and fizzy. A very good, quality DIPA. 4/5.
Downington, PA Victory Brewing Company DirtWolf – Double IPA. 12 oz bottle. 8.7% ABV
While we’re all sad to see Hop Wallop be pushed to the side for a little bit, this is a great replacement. Very light and easy to drink, but oh my the hops. Poured amber, with a decent head. The smell is all hops. Tastes exactly like it smells. The use of whole flower Citra, Chinook, Simcoe and Mosaic hops was smart.
York, ME SoMe Brewing Co Whoopie Pie Stout
As Mainers, we all love whoopie pies. The basic whoopie pie is chocolate cake with a vanilla creme base. SoMe Brewing captured this perfectly. Chocolate, vanilla beans, lactose. What really shocked us about this beer was something the head brewer (who became locally famous due to the gov’t shutdown’s impact on the TTB and craft beer) did on purpose. This beer was created to be a stout for people who don’t think they like stouts, or are “scared” of dark beers. There is none of the roasted, smoky, dark stout flavor that most stouts have. It is smooth, easy drinking, and flavorful. 4/5
Kittery, ME – Southern Maine Brewing – Mr. Bean’s Irish Red Ale – 5.3% ABV
Southern Maine Brewing (of Kittery, ME) is in the process of changing their name (I’m not at liberty to discuss to what yet), but producing very high quality beers. Their Irish Red IPA was exactly what it sounds like. A solid Irish Red Ale base. Fizzy, smooth, red coloring. Good hop character in the smell, which carried to the flavor. 4/5
SoMe Brewing Co – Low Tide Trippel – Belgian Trippel
York is right on the beach. When looking for a name for this beer, “Low Tide” seemed to make sense. When you think of a Belgian Trippel, you think of that banana and clove flavor. SoMe decided to make this beer in the same vein of their Whoopie Pie Stout. It’s a wonderful example of the style, while also reachable and drinkable by beer novices. Instead of overpowering banana and clove, this beer is bready in the nose, and as it warms it starts to smell like clover honey. Even when cold, this beer tastes like that honey smell. Sweet, light, bubbly. Wonderful. 4/5
Portsmouth, NH – Beara Irish Brewing Company – Baruil IPA
Beara Irish Brewing had a very cool idea for their beers: make beer with a purely Irish barely base. No American barely, just every beer made with Irish barley. I have a hard time tasting a difference between the Irish barley and American barley. That being said, this is still a good, solid beer. Rumors are that this beer plans to open on St Patrick’s Day 2014. 3/5
SoMe Brewing – Unnamed Double IPA
This was a very good, West Coast style DIPA. Light drinking, lots of hops. The Simcoe stood out in the smell. If you know what Simcoe smells like, you know how this beer smells and tastes. I look forward to drinking this beer again. 3.5/5
Southern Maine Brewing – Widowmaker Double Black IPA – 8.7% ABV
This was a favorite of what Southern Maine Brewing brought. It was dark black, strong dark roasty malts. The color looks like a stout, but the smell is all hops. The taste is a wonderful combination of dark roasts and very good hops. I really look forward to seeing what Mike does with this beer. 4.5/5
We wrapped up the night with something fun. A couple of last night’s participants homebrewed a beer a piece for a pumpkin beer competition. We graded both beers, and found that if the positive notes of both beers were combined, it would make a solid pumpkin beer. Our key points (if you make your own pumpkin beer, is balance. Light, smooth, spicy but not overly, with a good amount of pumpkin. The key to pumpkin beers is to use a decent amount of pumpkin. Good pumpkin usage contributes to a good thicker mouthfeel.